Nolanville: City council to enact stricter smoking rules
The Nolanville city council plans to add controversial bans to its smoking ordinance, but says it’s open to hearing residents’ concerns.
Residents were invited to share feedback and concerns at a public forum being held during the regular city council meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.
The city’s current ordinance only prohibits smoking at city facilities including the park.
City officials say after hearing complaints about secondhand smoke from local residents, they wanted to update the regulations.
They partnered with the American Heart Association to draft new rules and now plan to bar smoking in workplaces, public areas and within 25 feet of doors or windows to businesses.
Some residents are already in an uproar about a proposal to also ban smoking in vehicles when a minor is present, but city leaders say they are looking out for the health of all citizens.
"It's just common sense that if something is endangering your health and the health of others around you- as has been proven- don't do it.” says Councilwoman Joan Hinshaw.
“And children can't get you to stop."
She says council discussions included members recounting how terrible it was for them as children when having to ride in a car while parents smoked.
“The cigarette is coming first, and we want people to start thinking of their kids first.”
She says that the bans are meant to educate the public and encourage adults to make healthier choices.
Nolanville plans to join 100 other cities with comprehensive smoke-free ordinances through the “Smoke-Free Texas” campaign backed by the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and the Cancer Action Network.
“When we heard that the City of Nolanville wanted to take the steps to pass a comprehensive ordinance to protect against the dangers of secondhand smoke, we wanted to help out,” says Greg Talamantez of the American Heart Association.
He’s been working with city leaders since early July to update the ordinance, while providing research and insight on policies.
For example, he says ventilation systems have not been proven to be effective, so the line in the ordinance’s draft which allowed for smoking in restaurants with ventilation equipment will most likely be stricken.
The ban will also include other forms of tobacco like e-cigarettes.
“When you are vaping, you are releasing something into the environment that has chemicals- some of those chemicals are known to cause cancer,” says Talamantez.
Councilwoman Hinshaw says there are no current plans for officers to camp out and try to catch people breaking the smoking law.
However, officials are brainstorming ways to enforce the proposed regulation.
“What I’m thinking is a warning the first time, maybe a warning the second time, and then if you find somebody smoking with children in the car the third time- then it's time to up the ante,” she says.
If the proposal is made law, violators could face a fine of as much as $500.